Tis the season! The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate life and enjoy ourselves.
While we can get distracted by picking the perfect gifts and decorating, it is also a great time to give back. The holidays are a difficult time for those who have been struggling, whether it is financially or with their health. Take an opportunity to bless someone else and give back this holiday season.
Are you unsure of what you can do to give back? We have 7 ideas to get you started.
1. Volunteer to Give Back This Holiday Season
It costs nothing to give your time in service of others. Thanksgiving is a great time to volunteer at your local soup kitchen or shelter. You can assist them with meal prep, cooking, and serving those in needs.
Libraries’ are always looking for volunteers. You can stop by and read holiday stories to local kids. You can also visit your local hospital and volunteer to read stories to the children in their pediatric care units.
Habitat for Humanity is one of my favorite places to volunteer. They build safe and affordable homes, work to revitalize neighborhoods, and provide disaster relief. Gather a group or find out if your company has a team and help build a home this season.
There are so many organizations that could use your help. Sometimes the most valuable gift you can give is your time.
Related: How to Give Even When You’re in Debt
2. Donate Unwanted Items
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While you are making room for new gifts you may receive, take those old items you’re no longer using and donate them. The Salvation Army and Goodwill accepts new and used clothing, furniture, and in some instances kitchenware. Churches and other nonprofit organizations accept used goods as well.
Do you have an old car that you no longer use? There are organizations (Cars Helping Veterans, Make-A-Wish Foundation) that will accept them and repair them for veterans and others in need of a vehicle. You would also receive a tax deduction for your vehicle.
3. Pay It Forward
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is that it brings out the best in people. Every year, someone I didn’t know paid for my coffee, brought my lunch, or some random act of kindness.
Buy someone a coffee. Treat someone to lunch. Pay a bill for a loved one. This can be as simple as paying for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive through line. I believe that what you put out is what you get back. Put out good energy and bless someone today. A random act of kindness is a simple way to give back this season.
4. Be An Angel Investor
You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to invest. The stock market isn’t the only way you can invest. Did you know that for as little as $25, you can help someone start their dream business? Kiva is an international nonprofit that connects people through lending to alleviate poverty.
They provide microloans to those in need of funds to start businesses, go to school, obtain clean water, and several other worthwhile goals.
Through their lender match system, you are able to select which projects to which you would like to contribute. You would be lending the money, and will likely get the money back. Of course there are risks involved with lending, so you can consider this as well. They are outlined on the organizations website as well all the details regarding their program. Do your research. If you decide this isn’t the program for you, there are other ways to help those who are less fortunate.
5. Participate in a Blood Drive
Many organizations host blood drives during the holidays. What better gift than the gift of life? Donating blood literally saves lives. In this year alone there have been several natural disasters causing life threatening injuries to millions.
Hospitals and health care providers are always in need of donations, especially for those with the O negative blood type. If you don’t have an aversion to needles, this may be a way to contribute this season.
6. Organize a Food/Coat Drive
The holidays can be especially difficult for those in need. Need doesn’t only apply to material items. There are people who don’t have the basics like food and water. Tap into your network for a good cause and organize a food drive. Collect non-perishable goods and bottled water for donation.
Winter can be brutal for those who are unprepared. Ask friends, family, and co-workers for gently used (or new ones if they’re so inclined) coats, especially for children. Coats for Kids’ is kicking off its winter campaign to deliver coats children in need.
7. Donate Some Cash
There are plenty of worthy causes and people who can use your cash this season. A friend of mine did “31 days of giving” last December, where she donated to a different charity or person for the entire last month of the year.
While she may not be wealthy, she still found a way to donate a little to her favorite people and causes. She is definitely my inspiration. Choose something that you’re passionate about and make a donation to that cause. You can even donate to individuals. If you know of anyone that is in need, a little cash can go a long way.
You don’t need a ton of money or time to bless someone and give back this holiday season. Plus, you never know the impact it can have on their life.
If you’re struggling financially with debt or other obstacles, realize that giving will allow you to have a more abundant mindset when it comes to money.
Let the spirit of the season inspire you. There’s no better feeling than doing something nice for others.
How do you plan to give back this holiday season? Have you been the recipient of someone’s kindness? We’d love to hear from you!
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